Christmas is not a simple incident, it was the beginning of our Journey from hell to heaven.
Another Christmas is at our door-step. A star-studded night, a slumbering babe on the hay-bed, a way-side cattle-shed, a manger, sweet symphony of a heavenly band and the fanfare of a gang of shepherds once again illumine the orbit of our reminiscence. May our preparation and celebration of this grace-filled feast of the incarnation of the Lord inspire and empower each of us to cement the foundational convictions of our faith and pitch deeper in them the little tents of our lives.
What descended on the altar of the earth at that chilly dark was nothing but the Ray of Redemption; the Rising Sun from on High (Lk. 1:78); the Mantle of Liberation which humanity, for centuries, had been awaiting in hope! The Baby-God in the stable was the content and completion of the unfailing promises of Yahweh who had compassion on His children who cried out to Him for freedom and help in the war-field of sin and its allurements. And He deigned to send them His only Son as their refuge. He extended His own right hand, His Son, toward the forehead of the human kind to overshadow those that grew weary in the scorching heat of the evil.
Thus, the Babe on the grass-mattress is that beam of light that filtered down the layers of heaven. It was the one who had promised to live with His own till the end of the world that became â€˜IMMANUELâ€™ in an animal-tent! It was the tyranny of slavery that ended at His advent! It was the chains of Satan that were destroyed at His blessed birth! And it had been precisely for this reason that the prophet, centuries ahead, called that holy-born as the light perceived by those who resided in the region of demise (Is. 9:2).
It was, certainly, as Redeemer that the Son of God stepped on the soil. That is why He allowed His first vision to a group of shepherds who safeguarded sheep that night. It was because He was Light that He took birth in darkness. Today, in the chill of December, as we pause contemplatively in front of well-decked cribs, let us write in the ink of faith our sacred convictions on the tablets of our souls. The kid that smiles in the manger is not merely a breathless statue either molded in clay or carved out of soft wood. Instead, He is the true image of the One who at every instant takes birth as the Saviour of the universe. And the call of the Gospel for us, believers, is to walk constantly in His eternal light.
Let us respond generously to this invitation and station ourselves face-to-face in front of Him and allow His powerful rays to penetrate the cloisters of our private life and thereby refine the interior of our very being. May our life-plants grow toward that sustaining and sanctifying light and our gazes be fixed on his effulgent face. May the rest of our journey be through the track of His divine providence. Options are decisive in life for it is they that direct our destiny. Therefore, let us always prefer light to darkness. Let us dare take up the challenges light offers us on the paten of various life-situations.
Redemption is a grace and gain; a gift and reward. Hence, striving for attaining it is as indispensable as praying for it. Incarnation is not an ended episode. It is rather a continuing story. It is not a miracle performed and vanished in the scrolls of history. It is rather a salvific mystery that keeps unfolding because God wills that every one should chew the cud of salvation (1 Tim. 2:4). The liberation He makes possible is a comprehensive one that emancipates us from the grips of diabolic powers, from the thorny beds of deadly diseases, from emotional imbalances, from the biting pains of inner inflictions and from tensions, anxieties and fears. And thus, He gently restores us to that initial liberty of the children of God. In order to own this redemption, let us earnestly confess the Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes in the snow-wet manger as our only Saviour.
Prayer: Jesus, the Bright Morning Star, deign to daily descend upon us as the Ray of our Redemption. May your life-giving words continue to be lamp to our feet and light on our path. AMEN.
– – – written by Fr. Thomas Pattathilchira, CMF